Kafkasor Bull Wrestling in Artvin, unique in the world, is an activity, which shouldn’t be missed, with the other festivals and fairs.
This bull wrestling is one of the most interesting traditional festivals in Turkey. The bulls, brought from every district of the province and classified, are wrestled in the arena on the Kafkasor Plateau.
Even from the earliest times of this organization, it is paid attention especially the bulls not to be harmed or suffered and that’s why the predetermined rules are applied carefully. The bull, seeming weakly in the fight, is accepted as defeated and estranged from the arena by the charged people.
There are categories in the bull wrestling like; bundle- foot- small middle- big middle- head under- head- super. The most important category is the head category. These categories are determined according to the length, height, and weight of the animal. A bull isn’t convenient for each category. The wrestling occurs in equalitarian conditions for the bulls. The bulls, of which horns are sharpened, are especially disqualified. Because the tradition is to make the bulls wrestle in totally natural conditions like Kafkasor. The wrestling is managed by the arbiter committee, consisting of 10 arbiters.
This kind of wrestling is special to this region in the world. There are also organized Karakucak Wrestling and folkloric dances in the festival and the quarrels of the folkloric troubadours, coming from the counties and villages of the neighborhood, are watched with excitement.
The bull wrestling was emanated from the migration in the plateaus. As it is known, the local people of the Black Sea Region and accordingly of Artvin migrate with their animals regularly every year to the plateaus, when the spring ends. They return back from the highlands in the beginning of the autumn. The animals and of course the bulls of these nomads meet on the staging posts. These meetings reveal the competition for the leadership among the bulls. The leadership issue is solved with an equalitarian fight between the bulls. At the end of this fight, the animals can choose their leader during the migration. The winning bull becomes the leader of the animals on this migration to the plateau. Thus, the migration to the plateau ends at peace. The local people knows this situation due to their practice for years and want their bull to be the leader, they take care of their bulls in the months of the winter and the spring.
With the additions of other activities of culture and art during the course of time, “the Kafkasor Festival”, of which the most interesting part is the Bull Wrestling, is organized in the last days of the each June for 25 years.